Lessons of 2016 and 1980: A TV Personality Will Beat A Policy Wonk

Running a policy wonk against a TV personality did not end well for the Democrats in 1980 or 2016, observed Travis Knoll, a Phd student in history. He writes in Huffington Post: “As we found out in 1980, when an unpopular and tepid but dedicated nuclear submarine engineer faced off against a movie star in a campaign of emotions, the movie star triumphed decisively. Similarly in 2016, a reality-TV celebrity faced off against self-proclaimed wonk in a popularity race to the bottom.The celebrity won.”

The 2016 Democratic platform “would have appealed to middle-class Americans struggling with college debt, small farmers looking for ways to make a living and protect their land, and Native Americans.” But the message never got out because the unpredictable personality of Donald Trump and his myriad controversies dominated the news.

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